In the age of Internet chatrooms, TV shows such asThe Bachelor, and speed dating, marriages like the Wilsons are becoming more uncommon.
Roy and Ruth Wilson have been married for 63 years and are still as in love as they were as the day they walked down the aisle, Mr. Wilson said.
"We have had a common interest since the day we met," he said. "And our common interests led to romance."
Mr. Wilson, now 89, was the editor of Eastern Illinois University's newspaper while Mrs. Wilson, now 86, was editor of the high school paper on the same campus. She noticed him and began arriving early to the staff meetings - and often wearing her favorite dress, she admitted.
When sparks flew, Mr. Wilson spent a lot of time traveling from Springfield, where he worked, to Champaign,Ill., where Ruth attended the University of Illinois.
The couple wed on Aug. 19, 1939, after Mrs. Wilson, then 22, graduated college and taught school for a year. Back then women could not do both, so she gave up teaching to marry, she said.
The more time they spent together, the more common interests the two discovered. They both enjoy playing golf and went on many golf trips with friends. During a year in New York, the couple had a standing Thursday-evening date in the second balcony's first row for a Broadway show - cementing their love of theater.
Keeping an open mind about each other's interests and sharing in them is an important part of a successful marriage, said Jerry Wilcher, licensed professional counselor of The Family Solutions in Evans. Wilcher is a former Evans Middle School principal and has been married 34 years.
"Learn to have fun together," Wilcher said. "Do not forget how to have fun even in the midst of careers and children, continue to have fun together. Even if you do not love (your spouse's interest) yourself, pretend you love it until it sticks on you and you begin to like it some. Give it a chance. Do not close any doors. If it is not one of your favorite things, pretend it is and enjoy it the best you can."
During their marriage, the Wilsons have lived all over the country, including San Francisco, Virginia, Washington D.C., New York and Illinois, and they have traveled to Europe.
The couple depended heavily on each other during 40 years far away from family and through the death of their son, Bob, in a car accident, Mrs. Wilson said.
In that, the Wilsons portrayed another important aspect of a successful marriage - helping each other meet physical and emotional needs, Wilcher said. Nurturing partners will trust, respect, give each other space enough for their personal identities within the marriage while still working toward a common goal and communicate well - not just hearing but understanding each other, and having respect and trust.
"He was away a lot," Mrs. Wilson chuckled when asked what made their marriage so successful."
The Wilsons say neither can picture life without the other. They saw the happy side of marriage through friends and decided to make it work, too. After Mr. Wilson retired in 1984, the couple moved to Aiken to be close to a nephew with a new baby, where they joined in many birthday and other family celebrations. They moved to Brandon Wilde in Evans 11 years ago.
"Love changes over the years," Wilcher said. "And people start thinking that when the love changes, it means they are no longer in love. It just takes different forms. As we grow older, our love relationship changes and our love changes. We need to understand it is a change in status of love, but it does not diminish the degree of love.
"It is just different. We go from the romantic love to other types of love and it is still OK."
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